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Chhattisgarh: In village of ambush, locals ‘beaten’ by cops; I-G to look in

In Teklagudam village, the epicenter of the gunbattle between Maoists and security forces on Saturday, Barse was one of the few who stayed back till late, and was allegedly beaten up by police personnel, an allegation the police chief said he would look into.

ON TUESDAY, Mangdu Barse, 20, lay on a cot in the awning of his hut with bruised lips; he pulled the lower lip down, slowly, to expose four missing teeth.

In Teklagudam village, the epicenter of the gunbattle between Maoists and security forces on Saturday, Barse was one of the few who stayed back till late, and was allegedly beaten up by police personnel, an allegation the police chief said he would look into.

“When we saw the police personnel approach, we locked ourselves in our houses. Those who didn’t got beaten up. After a few hours, we heard the noise of heavy firing and we fled,” said Bhima Korsa, 29, another resident of Teklagudam.

Bastar I-G P Sundarraj said he would look into the allegations. “We have no information of villagers being targeted, our forces were engaged in combat with Maoists. I will look into the allegations,” he told The Indian Express.

On Saturday, the 150 or so villagers of Teklagudam escaped into the forest, and then to Poovarti, around 30 minutes from the village on the other side of hills – they said they were worried about being caught in the crossfire between police and the Maoists.

Teklagudam was the first site of the encounter, sources said. The Maoists then chased police personnel outwards – towards Jhiragaon, hardly 1 km from Teklagudam, where 14 bodies of security personnel were found on Sunday. Twenty-two personnel lost their lives; 31 were injured in the attack.

“Some of us went to Poovarti, some only went inside the jungles. We returned only on Monday, after the security personnel had left the area,” Ramesh Korsa, 17, said. Korsa, a school student in Jagargunda, said he was among the last few to flee.

While the village was deserted when The Indian Express visited on Sunday, it had most of its inhabitants back on Tuesday. The young men said they are scared of police retaliation.

Mangdu Barse had ventured out of his house to pick forest produce on Saturday. He claimed he was beaten up by the police with rods and gun butts.

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